SINGAPORE (Armradio.am) — Singapore’s oldest church, the 180-year-old Armenian Apostolic Church of St Gregory The Illuminator in Hill Street, will soon have an Armenian heritage museum, Straits Times reports.

Venture capitalist Pierre Hennes, 43, one of its four trustees, says the tiny, close-knit Armenian community and about 15 Armenians overseas have been discussing setting it up since 2005.

Before that, the community was focused on sprucing up the church, which was declared a national monument in 1973.

Hardly any Armenians here worship in the church and Armenians say there is no pressure on them to attend church regularly, as religion is a very personal and private matter to them. But building churches everywhere they landed was their way of preserving their roots.

The premises are often rented out to other Orthodox Christians, such as the Coptics, for their services. What they earn goes towards maintaining the church.

If all goes well, the museum will open next year in the 110-year-old house across the church.

The two-storey building was originally a parsonage but there has not been a resident priest since 1933.

The trustees hope the museum will have maps, religious relics and Armenian literary works. The museum plan is quite a turnaround from just 10 years ago, when Armenian archbishop Aghan Baliozian tried to sell the church and parsonage.

The community stopped that sale and, today, the mother church in Armenia is giving the museum plan its support.

Last November, the world leader of the church, the Catholicos of All Armenians, was there to bless the Armenian congregation and the church.

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